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Beware the Elements! Natural Disasters on Film: “Deep Impact” in 35mm

January 20 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm

One night, an amateur stargazer notices a mysterious object in the sky. A year later, the public learns a seven-mile-wide comet is hurtling toward Earth, on course to cause an “extinction level event.” To this day, astronomers assert the creative interventions chosen by the film’s characters, coupled with depictions of realistic megatsunamis, result in Deep Impact passing impressive scientific muster. Fondly remembered for Morgan Freeman’s turn as President Beck, this cosmic summer blockbuster’s commentary on humanity’s struggles to maintain in the face of unexpected upheaval still rings true over twenty-five years later.

Post-screening conversation with Stephanie Pincetl, Professor, Director, California Center for Sustainable Communities Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA. Moderated by Sammy Roth, Climate Columnist, Los Angeles Times.


In considering natural disaster films and the scientists who intervene within them, we can use cinema to envision a world in which humans can harness the elements, tame nature, and save the day. Yet, as real-world climate science has proven time and again, most of these imaginative interventions are too little, too late and only collective science-based action by government, industry, and civil society can ensure our survival.

Beware the Elements! Natural Disasters on Film

This screening series considers natural disasters through our planet’s primary elements—earth, wind, water, and fire—and seeks to highlight key moments in the history of the disaster film genre as a source of entertainment and portrayal of science, and as a tool to raise our collective consciousness about science-based solutions to the mounting global climate crisis. Discussions with noted scientists will follow select screenings.


Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
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David Geffen Theater
6067 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036 United States
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(323) 930-3000
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